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My soon to be wife is Romanian, I would like to add her family to my tree so that any future children will have a more complete tree rather than just Dad's side.

My issue is that her mother is the last of her family and she doesn't really know much about them anyway. There seems to be little on-line documentation other than WW2 Jewish census records.

Do much in the way of records exist in this area after communism?

Has anyone else tracked and family in the Romanian/Hungarian area or any other former eastern block countries & how did you do this?

  • It would be helpful to know a little more about where her family comes from. What do you know already? – user104 Nov 24 '12 at 16:12
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    She was born in Bucharest. Her paternal grandfather was from a countryside community somewhere (I'll check with her later). Her maternal grandparents both died before she was born but apparently were relocated when the boarders of the country changed. – AvieRose Nov 24 '12 at 16:16
  • Do you have a timeframe? And place names for her grandparents? – user104 Nov 24 '12 at 16:19
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    I do have it written down somewhere upstairs, but I fell over yesterday and sprained my ankle, so I will put that info up later on tonight. – AvieRose Nov 24 '12 at 16:21
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    You said the grandparents were relocated when the borders of the country changed - really need the timeframe here. Probably means Moldavia or Transylvania, but other regions also possible. Ethnicity and religious affiliation will also be key to finding more. – bgwiehle Nov 24 '12 at 20:47
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These might prove a starting point, but we can give you better answers if you can be more specific about time and place:

FamilySearch -- Hungary

Cyndi's List -- search for Hungary or Romania

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You're right, up until a few years ago it was very difficult to get any kinds of records from this area. The LDS has not gotten permission to film in the regional Romanian archives, though they've been trying very hard for years.

Luckily, JewishGen.org just recently acquired[1] a ton of records for the areas of Romania that were once part of Hungary (i.e. Maramaros/Maramures county, Szatmar/Satu Mare county, etc.). And they're transcribing more all the time: http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Hungary/Maramaros.htm

Contact the Hungarian Special Interest Group (H-SIG) there for the latest details on what they have acquired and/or transcribed, and what they don't have yet.

Also, Ancestry has recently put online some scanned images of vital records books from Transylvanian areas of Romania, like the Cluj area.

[1] okay, so I kind of led the original project that got the first 50,000 records online :-)

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You can do genealogy research in Romania, just that it has to be of the "legal" rather than the "purely historical" kind. What I mean is that you should start with your wife's birth certificate. It will list her parents' names and dates of birth, as well as place of birth. She (and only she) can ask for their own birth certificates, based on these data, from the town halls of where they were born. Once you have that, the same town halls can also offer the information on marriage and death. With those certificates, you can go back in time. Going from around 1917 backwards, it is possible to ask at the National Archives, instead of the town halls, because usually civil status documents over 100 years old are there. Over 100 years old is also the beginning point for internet digitization projects too.

If she does not want to come to Romania to do this, she can apply through a specialist like www.romaniandocuments.net, or try the consulate, although this will take time and, since they are not paid for the service, they don't take kindly on purely genealogical research.

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Some other places to look might be the pando (one big tree) at WeRelate.org which includes a pando of places as well as people. For example for Hungary yeilds this. It is a pando of sources as well so you might search in those. Its use of categories and templates might also turn up something of interest (eg Jewish).

Another site you might want to look at is MyHeritage.com. It is an Israeli company with a quite extensive worldwide membership.

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There is no problem to get the church records from former Austro-Hungary territory. Firstly, you need to decrease the searching area to one or two counties or towns. Then, you can continue you searches in Romanian National Archive. For example, please look at great list of available documents in Maramaros archive here. There are such lists for others counties too.

Also LDS made the great work of digitalizing church records. But not all of them are available online and can be accessed only in Family History Centers all around the world. The list of microfilms is available here.

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